فصل 24

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فصل 24

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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FINCH

Day 27 (I am still here)

I stand at the window and watch her climb onto her bike. Afterward, I sit on the shower floor, the water beating down on my head, for a good twenty minutes. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.

I turn on the computer because it’s a connection to the world, and maybe that’s what I need right now. The brightness of the screen hurts my eyes, and so I dim it way down until the shapes and letters are near shadows. This is better. I sign onto Facebook, which belongs only to Violet and me. I start at the beginning of our message chain and read every word, but the words don’t make sense unless I hold my head and repeat them out loud.

I try to read my downloaded version of The Waves, and when that isn’t any better, I think, It’s the computer. It’s not me. And I find a regular book and thumb through it, but the lines dance across the page like they’re trying to get away from me.

I will stay awake.

I will not sleep.

I think of ringing up ol’ Embryo. I go so far as to fish his number out from the bottom of my backpack and punch it into my phone. I don’t press Call.

I can go downstairs right now and let my mom know how I’m feeling—if she’s even home—but she’ll tell me to help myself to the Advil in her purse and that I need to relax and stop getting myself worked up, because in this house there’s no such thing as being sick unless you can measure it with a thermometer under the tongue. Things fall into categories of black and white—bad mood, bad temper, loses control, feels sad, feels blue.

You’re always so sensitive, Theodore. Ever since you were a little boy. Do you remember the cardinal? The one that kept flying into the glass doors off the living room? Over and over, he knocked himself out, and you said, “Bring him in to live with us so he won’t do that anymore.” Remember? And then one day we came home and he was lying on the patio, and he’d flown into the door one too many times, and you called his grave a mud nest and said, “None of this would have happened if you’d let him come in.”

I don’t want to hear about the cardinal again. Because the thing of it is, that cardinal was dead either way, whether he came inside or not. Maybe he knew it, and maybe that’s why he decided to crash into the glass a little harder than normal that day. He would have died in here, only slower, because that’s what happens when you’re a Finch. The marriage dies. The love dies. The people fade away.

I put on my sneakers and bypass Kate in the kitchen. She says, “Your girlfriend was just here looking for you.”

“I must have had my headphones on.”

“What happened to your lip and your eye? Please tell me she didn’t do that.”

“I ran into a door.”

She stares hard at me. “Everything okay with you?”

“Yeah. Super. I’m just going for a run.”

When I get back, the white of my bedroom ceiling is too bright, and so I turn it blue with what’s left of the paint.

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